One of the perks of living in this digital era is the ease of travel planning. You can type in a place, and plenty of results will paint you a clear picture (to a certain degree) of that place. That’s how I found out about Bibury, and, at that time, its charms.
For a long time, I’d always been enchanted with this picture of Bibury in the fall. The row of English cottages, set against the picturesque fall foliage. And that’s how I was lured into putting Bibury on the list.
There are places that will blow your mind the second you step foot on it, as it’s better than the images you’ve seen. Bibury, unfortunately, was the opposite. It broke the illusion of this picturesque, quaint English village that I’d had in mind.
Arlington Row, the spot where these quintessential images take place, was far from idyllic. And to my disappointment, it proved to be more like a touristic cliche. Upon arriving at this place, I saw the street was lined with tour buses and cars, and people were milling around with their selfie sticks held high. I’m not a fan of crowded places, but I can cope with that most of the time. This time, my temper was short thanks to the loud and obtrusive tourists, who were fighting for strategic spots to capture this illusion of a tranquil village.
I had to wait for eternity to get a few seconds of clear space, during which I’d click the shutter furiously. The results were the images above.
A few days ago, Sharon talked about how Instagram had changed the way people travel or live. We’re too focused on choosing ‘instagrammable’ images, rather than looking for experiences and stories for ourselves. Each to their own, I guess. But this makes me wonder, if there were no social media and platforms for people to showcase their travel photos, would they still travel just for the sake of the experience?
Anyway. We stayed there only for an hour, as we were keen to go away from all the madness. I walked away with the smallest number of photos compared to any other towns/villages we visited during that weekend, which shows how unremarkable a place was to me. The place itself was beautiful, but the experience was unpleasant.
I guess this is also a reminder for me, that not every beautiful and seemingly idyllic images on social media is exactly like that in reality. For all I know, there could be 20 people behind every beautiful picture, fighting to keep each other out of their way so they could take some nice pictures to post on Instagram.
Oh, the joy of living in the digital age.
What do you think of this ‘Instagram culture’? I’d love to know!